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Urgent appeal for cyclone victims


Dear Editor: Humanity First has launched an urgent appeal for Bangladesh Cyclone 'Sidr' Relief Fund to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims hit by the tropical cyclone. Several towns along Bangladesh's coast were ravaged by a powerful cyclone that has killed at least 2000 people so far and has left more than 500,000 people homeless.

Dear Editor:

Humanity First has launched an urgent appeal for Bangladesh Cyclone 'Sidr' Relief Fund to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims hit by the tropical cyclone.

Several towns along Bangladesh's coast were ravaged by a powerful cyclone that has killed at least 2000 people so far and has left more than 500,000 people homeless.

This is the deadliest storm to hit the country in decades and has destroyed tens of thousands of homes in southwest Bangladesh and ruined much-needed crops just before harvest season. A tidal swell from the cyclone devastated three coastal towns and forced the evacuation of about 3.2 million people.

About 1.5 million coastal villagers were forced to evacuate to government shelters.

Along the coast, 150 mph winds flung small ferries ashore, cutting off migrant fishing communities who live on and around hundreds of tiny islands across the area's web of river channels.

In total about 773,000 houses were damaged, 250,000 head of cattle and poultry perished, and crops were destroyed on nearly 77,450 acres.

Humanity First teams on the ground were able to talk to survivors in Barisal District in the first two hours after the tragedy when mobile phones were supported by emergency power, but since then, there has been a blackout. Humanity First has sent water launches from Dhaka and Chittagong.

We anticipate most help being needed in coastal villages around Barguna and Patuakhali. We will post more details after the assessment, but based on initial reports, we are planning to set up soup kitchens and also provide basic medical assistance to purify water and protect people from water-borne diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid.

Humanity First aims to provide food, clean water and basic rations to the dislocated people, especially children who would be more susceptible to water borne diseases. Food shortages and contaminated water can lead to widespread problems if people remain stranded. Humanity First has mobilized its teams to respond to requests for help in the coastal villages.

Funds are required urgently to accelerate the distribution of essential supplies.

Humanity First is actively working to assist in this desperate situation. The victims are in urgent need of food, fresh water and medical supplies that are running low. There is a danger of spread of water borne diseases due to contaminated water; diarrhea has already affected some areas.

Humanity First is seeking your generous contributions to continue with its relief efforts. Donations towards the "Bangladesh Cyclone Relief Fund" can be made online at www.humanityfirst.ca or through cheques written to Humanity First - Bangladesh Cyclone Relief Fund, 245 Bowes Road, Concord, ON, L4K 1H8.

You can donate online and immediately recieve a tax deductible receipt by clicking

http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPageDonate.aspx?cID=84781&gpID=924

Dr. Aslam Daud

Chairman

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